The expression ‘do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life’ is a motto most people hope to go by when choosing a career path. However, it can be tricky to know where to start sometimes. Certain passions and hobbies lend themselves more naturally to jobs than others: if you’re creative and paint in your free time, it makes sense to pursue work in the art sector. However, there are other interests that might not shout ‘career opportunity!’ quite as clearly: what job should you pursue if you’re a committed collector of stamps? We investigate how certain young people are hoping to turn their passions into a career, and how you can too.

Stephen’s Passion: Running

This week we spoke to Stephen: a 15-year-old with a passion for running. We asked him about why he loves his sport, what he’s up to now and what his plans are for the future. We gained an interesting insight into how a simple hobby like running can lead to a fascinating and rewarding career.

Stephen has just reached the end of year 10. For him, that means completing the first year of GCSEs, studying Geography, History, French and P.E as his optional subjects. His favourite subjects are Geography and (unsurprisingly) P.E. In his free time, Stephen puts a lot of focus into his passion, running, and hopes to incorporate this talent into his future career.

Do you have a plan for after GCSEs?

‘I might go to college in Brighton, then go to University (possibly Loughborough) and of course keep up with my running.’

Loughborough University is well known for its great sports facilities and clubs. This year (2019) it was ranked as the best University in the world for sports-related subjects by QS University World Rankings.

Why do you enjoy running?

‘I love the social aspect of running – joining a club gives me the chance to make like-minded friends. Running helps to clear my mind. I also enjoy the competitive side of running and working towards beating my Personal Best times.’

Do you have an idea of what future job you want? Why?

‘There are a few jobs I have in mind for myself: I’d like to become a professional athlete as this would enable me to continue running and competing.’

‘I am also interested in working in the sports science industry – I enjoy the biomechanics and physiology involved behind sport. Another job I’d consider is becoming a coach. I enjoy helping others develop and creating training plans.’

How will you fit your passion for running into your future?

‘I would find a career to do with running. Whether it links directly with it (i.e. professional athlete) or helping others (i.e. coaching). Research science in sport or sports physiotherapy is also something I’d be interested in.’

What other ways are there to incorporate running in a career?

‘Other ways to involve running in a career could be managing running events (like competitions and races) or working as a sponsor manager’

What advice would you offer someone else whose passion is running but they’re not sure what job they want? 

‘My advice would be to have a career in the running industry which involves a more academic skill that you enjoy and are good at. For example, if you like Science, you could look into opportunities such as biomechanics or physiotherapy. If you like Design and Technology, or Product Design, you could become involved in developing products like running trainers. On the other hand, if you are particularly committed to running, becoming a professional athlete is definitely the clearest route to a career in running. It would take a lot of dedication and many hours of training but could lead to a very rewarding career.’

Alternative Careers Involving Running

Just as Stephen made clear, if running is a passion for you, you may be surprised to know that there are many different ways you can incorporate that passion into a career. A few more off-the-beaten-track jobs that involve running include:

  • Running Concierge – Either setting yourself up as a self-employed concierge or hiring yourself out to hotels to help guests, this may be a rather niche area of work to get into. However, the possibilities are pretty endless; guided ‘running’ tours of cities, can now be found in some places – why not start your own?
  • Race Director – Planning a race event is a lot of work and can become a full-time job. If you’re a highly organised individual who gets a kick out of planning events, becoming a race director is certainly a path you could pursue.
  • Brand Ambassador – In the world of social media and internet stardom, building a strong following on Instagram or Youtube can become a full-time occupation. If you have a running blog and a strong online presence, there’s a chance that companies will pay you (in either money or freebies) to review and promote their products.
  • Nutritionist – If you’re always obsessing over how many grams of protein you need to eat in a day or how many vitamins a body needs, perhaps you would enjoy working as a sports nutritionist. Roles like this require obtaining some qualifications and quite a bit of academic study, but seeing the impact your work has on improving athlete’s performance can be incredibly satisfying.

Do What You Love

With such a massive variety of career options available to choose from, it can feel overwhelming to try to decide on just one path to pursue. Finding a job that you genuinely enjoy can be even more daunting and it’s easy to settle for less. 

One of the key factors to career success is ensuring that you find your job engaging and enjoyable. It has been proven multiple times that employees who are bored or uninterested in their roles are far less productive and motivated than those who like their jobs. If you are genuinely interested in the job you’re doing, the week will drag less, you’ll learn things quicker, you’ll stay motivated, and you’ll improve and progress much faster. All this on top of doing something related to something you love full-time and getting paid for it!

A top tip if you are still struggling to decide on a career path to pursue is to spend some time reflecting on what you liked to do when you were younger. What were your hobbies? Your favourite subjects at school? What are you good at? Dedicating some time and thought to explore the things that make you happy can be extremely useful in choosing what career would best suit you.

For more inspiration and ideas on some more unconventional career paths to follow, check out our other blog post about alternative career paths.

Turn Your Passion Into A Career With Fledglink

If you have a passion or hobby and you’re not sure how to turn it into a career, the Fledglink App offers free, meaningful early careers guidance and opportunities that can really make a difference. Download and sign up to explore the many different options you never knew were available!